Day 190-196: Sydney (Week 23)
Trip Start Sep 12, 2004
57Trip End Jan 05, 2006
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Heard the guys getting up at half 6, but they were pretty quiet and seems like I was only awake for a few mins, next thing I know it was 9....and I didn't have my ear plugs in either, maybe the tablets and cough medicine managed to knock me out well and truly. Still felt a little rough in the morning, more groggy than anything else. I could have gone back to sleep but had alreay planned to do a couple of things today - Powerhouse Museum and IMAX. Went down for breakfast, the free breakfast was still on but used my own bread otherwise it'll go stale soon. Got ready and was out around 10, the Powerhouse was only a 20 min walk from BIG, probably less if I hadn't gone the long way round, only noticed the shorter route on the way out.
The main reason was to see The Lord of the Rings Exhibition. It had been on since December but I knew it would be way too busy at the beginnig so decided to wait until it had been on for a while and the kids were at school. However this didn't really make much difference as it was really busy and full of school trips anyway! Unfortunately no photography was allowed and there was no chance of surrepticious pics this time coz there was museum staff all over the place. There were props and costumes from the movies, miniature sets, videos describing various elements of the movies, how they did various things - I guess you could see all those things by watching the extras on the DVD, though of course you couldn't get so close to the costumes, props and models. They also had the ring on display, which lets face it is just a gold ring that you can see in any jewellers - there's no inscription on the inside as this is only added digitally in the film, so it looked quite plain, that's probably why they had to put it in it's own little room with special lighting and effects to make it more exciting. Generally it's worth going to see as the models and props are amazing, but as for the how it was made stuff - well you can just watch the DVDs.
Took a short wander around some other bits of the museum but was sooo boring that I left after 15 mins and wandered to Darling Harbour which is where the IMAx is. Bought my ticket for Aliens of the Deep 3D. early and went to the Harbourside shopping centre to have some lunch and try and find that alusive brolly - yes there are plenty of brollys on sale in Sydney but I want a particular type you see. Still no brolly....got to the IMAX just before 3. Film was good though there weren't enough weird and wonderful creatures considering that's basically what the title suggest, too much of it was spent looking at 'black smokers' - those chimney type things on the ocean bed which spew out superheated water - of course the 3Dness of the film was great, first saw a movie like it when I went to see Titanic - Ghosts of the Abyss in 3D at the IMAX at the Science Museum in London. It's definately worth seeing though, additionally I had the joy of a family with 3 young kids sitting behind me babbling away and occasionally kicking my seat - delightful!
Walked into the city after a wandered around the shops, nipping into Woolies and finally finding an umbrella....hurrah! Stopped off at the net cafe on the way home to check messages and update the diary. Got back to the hostel about 7 and the guys were watching the X Factor results show so just sat and watched that, then South Park and then the new series of US Queer Eye for the Straight Guy...that was on until half 10 and I could kinda tell that they wanted to go to sleep as they get up early for work but fuck it...I'm paying to stay in that room too so if I wanna watch something I will....did go downstairs for a cup of tea after so they could get to sleep.
Another morning where I didn't really wanna get up, but by 9.45 I dragged myself out of bed as I decided to go to the Royal Easter Show at Sydney Olympic Park. Brekkie and shower and was out the door by 11, caught the bus to Circular Quay to catch the ferry. The show entry ticket at $27 includes public transport by bus, train or ferry to and from the event, I'd wanted to go up the river on the ferry before I left so this was the perfect way to combine the two. Caught the 11.50 to the olympic park ferry wharf....it was a river cat so it was quite a quick journey but the weather wasn't great, very overcast and it bit chilly sitting on the front of the ferry, it's the first time I've had to put on my jacket in weeks/months! Hadn't started raining yet but it was expected later in the day.
Took about 50 minutes to get up the river and it was a nice journey and good to see a bit more of the waterways than just the harbour. The wharf is quite some distance from the olympic park itself so caught the bus which took me straight to the park rail station which is right in the middle of everything. The Royal Easter Show is an agricultural show mainly, or that's what it started as - similar to the Royal Norfolk Show, etc - and of course there are other side attractions...fun fair, food, exhibitions, crafts, etc. Spent most of my time in the food dome (unsurprisingly!) - it had started to rain not long after I got in. There were various other exhibitions which I looked at, nothing particularly exciting and slowly the rain got heavier and heavier. Also went to the 17th floor observation deck in the Novotel hotel which is in the centre of the park, gives great views of the area and on a good day you can see back to the city - I could just make out the skyline and bridge but with the low cloud and rain it wasn't very clear.
By half 4 I was wet and bored so caught the 5pm train back to Central. I'd contacted Stephen during the day to see if he wanted to get together as it's his last day off whilst I'm in Sydney, we'd arranged to go for food and a drink this evening at 7. By the time I got back to the hostel it was pissing down, got out of the wet stuff and had a little rest on the bed, Matt was in the room when I got back - shit strewn everywhere as usual, starting to get midly annoying! Anyway, asked if they were out tonight and he said no - he said that they're trying to save money so don't go out during the week...well that's an exciting holiday they're having!....Anyway, had a shower and was ready just before 7, asked Stephen if he'd pick me up as it was still raining so he got me at the bus stop just outside the hostel. Parked on Oxford St and went to Betty's Soup Kitchen - walked past it hundreds of times but hadn't eaten there yet. It's a kind of simple, cheap and cheerful place, the portions are good and it arrives quickly - nothing costs more than $15. I had Mince and Veg Pie with Mash...not the sort of pie I was expecting, i thought it would be a pastry one but it was mince and veg in a dish. Stephen had Bangers and Mash....the sausages were huge!
Went to Battuta for coffee/tea after and then to the Columbian after for a quick drink before he had to meet a friend to sort arrangements for his trip to Melbourne, he's going there for easter and next week and will be leaving the day after I arrive - so we may meet up for a drink down there. We get on really well though sometimes conversation can be difficult and seems to revolve around work with him, but I fancy him too so will forgive that...lol! I think he kinda likes me but I guess the timing has just been wrong, hopefully we'll keep in touch while i'm travelling, he's said that he'll take me up to the Central Coast and Hunter Valley when I get back to Sydney - but that's some time away so who knows what will happen between now and then. He dropped me back at the hostel and I went to the net cafe to check messages and update the diary, plus I know the guys will either be in the room watching telly or asleep already. Went to bed about midnight.
Cold has slowly disappeared over the last day or so, had a much better nights sleep with hardly any coughing and didn't feel so rough in the morning. Sleep was mainly interrupted by the chatterbox in the bunk below who talks in his sleep, plus I usually get woken up when the guys get up at 6.30, though always manage to fall back to sleep - maybe that's why I still feel tired even though I'm waking up after 9. Had a nice lye in this morning not getting up until half ten and having some breakfast. Had a lazy morning and then decided that I should get back into the gym as today and tomorrow will be my last chance to go as it's my last proper day in Sydney tomorrow. Caught the bus up to Bond St gym just before 1 as I wanted to avoid the lunchtime rush. My left foot has had a weird strain on the bottom of it since sunday...think I must have done something to it climbing onto the top bunk!...so couldn't do any running but did 20 mins on the bike ad 15 on the step. Then I jsut did the lower body weights.
Was out the gym around half 3, weather was absolutely shitty today, cool and rainy, first time i've worn jeans during the day for months! Had a 4 o'clock appointment at the SSHS and then stopped off at the net cafe to update the usual and do some research into Melbourne hostels and flights to Alice Springs. Was back at the hostel around half 5....all the guys were in the room as usual - had to put my gym stuff out to dry so used every spare inch around my bed to hang it, the guy in the bunk below had hung his clothes from my bed so I said "sorry i'll have to move them" and he totally blanked me....miserable fucker. Apparently he had a whinge to reception when they put someone in the room with them before, the other guys are ok but he seems like the kinda bloke who doesn't like it when he doesn't get his own way - fact is that it's not their room and they haven't paid to keep the 4th bed empty so it's tough. went downstairs and had some dinner - salad with cashews, very healthy!
Some girls were watching Beaches on the big TV - it's a massive LCD screen thing - but that was almost over. They all left so I put another movie on, The Bone Collector, which I hadn't seen before, enjoyed it actually - a few other people hung around to watch it. Carlos called whilst it was on, first time I'd heard from him in a couple of weeks, I've tried to arrange to meet up a couple of times but he works so much it's not even worth bothering. He asked if I wanted to meet up this evening but told him I was watching a movie and it wouldn't finish until 10. Told him that tomorrow was my last proper day in Sydney but he's working from 8am to 11pm (!) - see what I mean, 2 jobs over 15 hours. We might try and catch up on his dinner break early evening. After the movie finished I went up to the room and all the lights were off and they were all asleep already - thought I'd listen to some music but my MP3 player was out of power so just went to sleep, took ages coz I wasn't really tired.
Big change in the weather this morning - blue sky!! Wasn't forecast either so I'm hoping that it stays like this all day as I have a night ticket for the Sydney Tower - I bought a Night & Day ticket when I first went up months ago - you get 6 months to use the night bit and of course I'm leaving it to the last minute. Thing is there's no point going up there when the weather's bad coz you can't see anything due to the low cloud, you're just surrounded by mist so I've been waiting for a good evening so I can go up and take some sunset and night pics...so fingers crossed. Had planned on getting up about 9 but in the end it was 9.45 before I got downstairs to have some breakfast. Went to the gym again, this time to do the upper body workout as is the last time I'm gonna be able to get to the gym!!! God what am I gonna do??? All my mig man muscles are just gonna waste away :O( Was at the gym about 11 and was out just before 2.
Wandered down George St to Gowings to get my haircut and then caught the bus down to Paddy's to get some food. Spoke to King in the afternoon to find out the details for this weekend, he's going to pick me up from the hostel about 9am which is a bugger as I was gonna have a big late one tonight as it's my last night in town....ah well, shall just have to sleep on the way to Myall Shores. We're gonna go back to his where everyone will convene, I can drop off stuff I won't need for the weekend and then we'll be off....should take 3 hours to get there. We're coming back sometime Monday afternoon and then I'll get the train to the Blue Mountains. Jumped in to the net cafe (again), still sunny with blue sky so keeping the fingers crossed that it stays that way into the evening, tho it's usually late afternoon that the weather turns.
[The rest of this weeks diary was done almost a week after the event whilst up the Blue Mountains....therefore detail is limited - which is probably a good thing....]
Yes the weather stayed good, in fact it was clear blue sky for the rest of the day, so caught up briefly with Aaron for a coffee then went back to BIG, picked up my cameras and caught the bus up to the tower. Got there about 6 with about 30 mins to sunset. Whilst wandering round got chatting to a German guy called Sven - it was the size of his lens which attracted me to him! lol - he's doing the round Oz thing and has been in Sydney for a couple of weeks staying in Coogee. We chatted about photography quite a lot, the fact that he's left his girlfriend behind (damn!), he's buying a car and driving round by himself and he's a policeman...gggrrrr!! So anyway's we kinda wandered around the tower taking pics of the sunset and of the city at night, finally coming down about 8. I gave him my email address and we'll see if he gets in touch. Went back to the hostel and got ready for my last night out in Sydney, just done the usual trawl around the bars, bumped into Heiko, ended up going to bed at 3.
Friday 25/03/03 - Good Friday:
Was picked up by King from the hostel at 9, then we got Chris and went back to King's to assemble the crap ready for the trip where Greg joined us. Didn't get on the road until just after 11, traffic was crawling for a lot of the way out of Sydney - not really a surprise as it's Easter, think it took us about an hour to get on the main freeway. We stopped off for something to eat about halfway, just before Newcastle and finally arrived at the resort at 4 after a long drive down a road which didn't look like it was gonna end....however it did and at the end was the ferry to get us across the lake to the resort, don't think I've ever been on one before. The resort was a bit more 'holiday camp' than I was expecting, I thought as it was an eco resort that there wouldn't be many cabins and they'd be spaced apart....it wasn't quite the case, there were loads and it seemed a bit of a family holiday place. Luckily our cabin was slightly out of the way and not in a cluster of families so it was quieter, however behind us were all the super cheap cabins where the poor people went I guess, we nicknamed it Redfern which is the dodgy council/government housing part of inner Sydney.
The cabin itself though was lovely...they're all pretty new and very plush...definately no skanky log cabins which is good. There was a 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a kitchen/living/dining area. We unpacked all the crap and just chilled for a while. Heiko went off to do some windsurfing as the wind was up and he'd brought his stuff with him. The rest of us sat on the veranda chatting and drinking. King read out the guide to the resort...there were all sorts of exciting activities like bingo, karaoke, plaster painting(!), evening entertainment, kids club...etc...thought I was in bloody Butlins for one minute! The rest of the day was a relaxed affair, we ate, drank, played board games - which isn't as daggy as it sounds, had a late lunch and stayed in the cabin for the rest of the day....most of us were knackered from all the travelling so went to bed around midnight.
Had a great nights sleep, I was in the twin room with Chris, King was on the sofa bed and Heiko and Greg were in the double room. King was up early...I think he's an early bird...about 8, heard him moving around and the other's started getting up too. Joined them on the veranda but it was freezing so had a blanket wrapped around me. Noticed that I'd been bitten on my right arm in 3 places somehow, despite putting mozzie stuff on...bastards! Had planned on going for a jog but the weather wasn't too great, it had rained and thundered overnight so the paths and tracks were a bit muddy (don't wanna get the trainers dirty!), and the clouds were threatening more rain, in fact is started raining whilst we were on the veranda so breakfast was had indoors, bacon and eggs on toast well put together by Heiko and Greg. The weather generally put paid to the rest of the day, we took a drive to Bulahdelah which is one of the nearest towns to get some more groceries...and when I say town I kinda mean one street type town with the pub, supermarket, bakery, hardware store, etc, all on the one street. We went into the pub which was a little scary but there was some local totty to look at so that was ok. The 45 min drive there was down an appalling track which was bumpy and full of potholes....poor Heiko's Hyundai took a battering.
Once we got back it was mid afternoon and the weather was still shite, so the rest of the day was spent milling around the cabin reading and relaxing, the board games were rolled out again and we generally did bugger all. After dinner I didn't really feel like moving tho some of the guys wanted to go to the Bombah Bar - which is the all encompassing hub of the resort which included the Bombah Cafe, Bombah Bar, and Leggy's Restaurant...no idea why the restaurant wasn't called Bombah too. So they all toddled off about 9 and I stayed on the sofa vegging in front of the telly, luckily it was non-stop Spongebob Squarepants on Nickelodeon so watched that until about half 11 but was knackered so went to bed. The rest of the guys came in about half and hour after.
Sunday 27/03/04 - Easter Sunday:
Much better morning with blue sky and the sun was out, tho still a bit chilly in the mornings up here. Wasn't until I was already up that I realised I should have put the clock back before I went to sleep, so instead of thinking I was up at 9.30 it was actually 8.30...which is far too early for a Sunday!!...so now I'm 9 hours ahead instead of 11. As the sun was out I thought I'd finally get off my fat arse and go for that jog, don't think the guys believed I was gonna do it but I did, 30 mins out along the track to Bulahdelah and back. Really really wanted to stop after 20 mins but kept pushing myself and made it back ok. Felt sooo much better after it tho...much more energy and the guys had saved some scrambled egg for me so had that after showering.
As the weather was good we decided to go to the beach went to a place recommended by someone King met at the bar last night, a place called Dark Point, doesn't sound very inviting but it was beautiful....huge desert like sand dunes lead to the almost empty beach. The waves were quite big, well I thought they were but apparently by aussie standards they weren't, the water was blue and the sand was almost white....plus there were amazing views down the coast and across the sea to some small islands. We lounged on the beach for a couple of hours, Greg went home early as he wanted to be home on Monday so it was just the four of us on the beach. Went in for a swim a couple of times too...the water seemed slightly warmer than Sydney but then we were slightly further north.
Left about 1.30 and Heiko drove us to Tea Gardens (that's the name of the place) to get some more food and drink - they had a Bi-Lo there so much more choice and cheaper too....had a spot of lunch too and then drove back. More board games and drinking before I cooked dinner....simple spag bol this evening as I couldn't be bothered to attempt anything too fancy when other people are going to be eating eat. Turned out quite good in the end and think everyone enjoyed it. Ice cream for dessert and by then was totally stuffed. Have eaten far too much rubbish on this weekend really...but did go for a jog so that's ok...lol! Decided I would pay a visit to the Bambah this evening so wandered down with King and Chris...Heiko was knackered so he stayed in this evening. The bar was dead...dead as dead can be, I think the only people there were staff and it was only 10.30, guess as it's mainly families they all go to bed early. Had a game of pool with Chris which I lost through Chris' shear good luck.....then wandered back to the cabin getting to bed around midnight.
The rest of the long weekend continues next week.....